The Differences between LANs, MANs, WANs and WLANs
A local area network refers to a computer network, which is established to cover a relatively smaller geographical location, like an office, a home or group of buildings situated close to each other. The distinctive features that differentiate them from wide area networks include their relatively high speed during data transfers and smaller geographical locality so that the data covers a smaller area in general (Harte, 2006). It is, therefore, wise to remember that local area networks, function within a stipulated geographical locality, make it possible for end users to access the data with a high-bandwidth capability and also facilitate a reliable connectivity via qualitative local services.
A Metropolitan Area Network refers to a computer network, which is established for the purpose of covering an area that is slightly larger than that covered by a Local Area Network so that it is developed to cover numerous buildings, homes or even cities as necessary. This type of network entirely depends on communication channels of medium to extensive modes of data rates. As much as a single entity can formulate and operate a Metropolitan Area Network (MAN), it is usually utilized by several other individuals as well as organizations. The stipulated maximum coverage area for MAN is about 50km and the devices used for this kind of networking include: wires/cables and modems (Harte, 2006).
A Wide Area Network refers to a type of computer network, which is developed to cover a rather expansive locality. It is, therefore, created to provide communication mediums that penetrate through metropolitans, regions or even international boundaries. In this era of information technology, the well-known example of WAN is the internet (Harte, 2006).
According to Learn Networking website (2008), a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) is defined as a computer network that is similar to local area network only that it does not use cabling as its mode of connection between computers.
When an entity or rather an enterprise considers to use a computer network that is, less costly, requires a simple mode of connection and covers a smaller geographical area then a LAN is the best option to consider and deploy. On the other hand, when the same entity desires to have a network that would facilitate comparison of its performance to those of its competitors and thus improve on its quality of services then it should not hesitate to pick a WAN mode of networking. In the case that the entity’s desire is to produce an optimum kind of output so that it uses are produced at a slightly higher cost than that of LAN, but in turn, it has its geographical coverage extended to include a few other buildings or cities that MAN would do better.
The major functionality of any given enterprise is to maximize profits so as to increase the wealth of the shareholders and at the same time, it strives to minimize losses to catapult the former. For this reason, it is wise for the enterprise to consider deploying an integration of the aforementioned forms of networks so, that quality services are produced as expected (Harte, 2006). It would be financially wise to establish and run an enterprise within a LAN, but the effects it will have on its exposure is relatively low so that the company would not be able to compare its results to those of its competitors. Nowadays, enterprises have seen the need for exploitation of social sites let alone other corporate ones, in order to remain at par with the ever-changing technology and also to increase on its market share. While my opinion is that small and starting-up enterprise should at first deploy LAN as its mode of communication, the need for its future growth and development solely relies on its desire to embrace risks and thus invest on a more advanced form of network communication, which remains as WAN.